A senior source in South Africa’s African National Congress party says its executive committee decided to “recall,” or remove, President Jacob Zuma as head of state.

South Africa’s beleaguered President Jacob Zuma is under pressure to resign by the ruling African National Congress party after years of corruption allegations. He has not yet responded or stepped down. How did it get to this point?

Colorful character

Zuma, 75, is a colorful character who rose from poverty and no formal schooling to become South Africa’s president in 2009, following in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela — the country’s first black president — and Thabo Mbeki. Despite anger over his numerous scandals and with many of his own party’s lawmakers turning against him, Zuma remains popular in many rural strongholds. A member of the Zulu tribe, he is a traditionalist and a polygamist, who presently has four wives. He has been married six times and has 21 children.

Various scandals

Zuma faced corruption allegations from an arms deal in 1999 that involved the government’s purchase of  warships, submarines, fighter jets and helicopters. He was also accused of accepting bribes from Thint Holdings, a French arms company in 2005, and was fired as deputy president that year over the incident. Zuma denies any wrongdoing.

In 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma had to pay back some of the $16 million used to upgrade his rural home in Nkandla. 

What happens next? 

Zuma was replaced as leader of the African National Congress (ANC) in the party’s December election by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa would likely replace Zuma if he steps down and would run in the next presidential election…